Project BORDERNETwork 2008-2009


4.2. Expert workshop on Migration and Prostitution 2009

Background of the expert workshop

The entry of Bulgaria and Romania in the European Union changed significantly the migration flows of these countries to Western Europe. An increased presence of Bulgarian and Romanian citizens in prostitution milieus is noticeable nearly everywhere in Germany, in both female and male sex work scenes. A great part of them is not interested in permanent stay in Germany, but commutes in rather frequent intervals between Germany, other west European countries and the home country, visiting and financially supporting their relatives.

This new phenomenon poses a great challenge for the work in the field of prostitution. There is insufficient knowledge in Germany about the social and health care services in the countries of origin as well as about the cultural particularities of the groups involved in sex work migration. Contacts to the respective health care institutions in the new EU member states are barely developed. The outreach work teams in prostitution milieus often lack resources for language and cultural mediation.

Aim of the expert workshop

The aim of the workshop is to bring forward the international exchange of experience, to inform about the judicial, social and health care framework and the work conditions in the sex industry in both countries of origin and destination (primarily Germany) and to create networks bridging prevention, social work, diagnostic and treatment professionals between Germany and the new EU-countries.

The programme of the expert workshop was developed by a group of co-organises (DAH, HYDRA, GA, SPI Forschung) with the aim to reflect as many diverse practice-driven viewpoints as possible. The BORDERNETwork partner projects HESED and ARAS from Bulgaria and Romania helped also in the shape of the work programme and were available during the workshop for development of cooperation and networking contacts.

In total 130 participants attended the expert workshop, mainly from public health offices and NGO projects in Germany. Seven further countries were nevertheless represented, along with Bulgaria and Romania; those were Ukraine, Poland, Czech Republic, Switzerland and Austria.